Every day, it seems like more and more startups and companies launch on, or move to, .com alternative domain name extensions. Some do this out of necessity because the matching .com is unavailable or too expensive, and others do it for branding or other marketing purposes. In my opinion, if a company uses an alternative extension such as a new gTLD or ccTLD, they need to embrace the extension in their branding.
Aside from the increased usage of new gTLD domain names and ccTLD domain names in the startup space, a branding trend I have also noticed is the removal of the extension from logos. GoDaddy, for example, removed the .com from its corporate logo a few years ago. I have seen other large companies do the same with their logos. I think this is fine if the company owns the brand match .com domain name that consumers expect, but I think this may be an error for other companies who do not have the brand match .com domain name.
For better or worse, consumers still assume a trusted business can be found on the matching .com domain name. I would imagine this is because of the familiarity with major brands using .com domain names as well as all of the marketing and advertising dollars spent directing people to .com domain names. I have no idea if this will change, but if it does on a wide level, it is going to take time.
In the meantime, I think startups and businesses who use alternative extensions, such as .IO, .CO, .ME, .Club, .Shop, and the thousands of others, should include the extension in their branding and logotype. It is important for people to know where to find a business and how to get in touch via email or phone. I think this is important when the brand match .com domain name is operated by another entity – especially if the brand match .com domain name is owned by a competitor.